FFXII The Zodiac Age
A world called Ivalice...
An age when magick was commonplace and airships piled the skies...
Our tale begins.
As war looms on the horizon, the mighty Archadian Empire begins a campaign to subjugate its neighbors. The small kingdom of Dalmasca shares their fate.
Two years after its fall, in the capital city of Rabanastre, the people line the streets to wait for the appoinment of the new counsul from Archadia.
To Vaan, a young man living on the streets of Rabanastre, the Emprire is a hated enemy who took the life of his brother, the only family he had left. Vaan hatches a plot to break into the palace and take back the spoils of conquest from Dalmasca's occupiers.
He gets more than he bargained for when he meets Princess Ashe, the sole surviving heir to the Dalmascan throne, thought dead since the war.
The story follows Ashe, Vaan, and his friend Penelo, the sky pirate Balthier, and his partner Fran. Accompanying them is Basch, a captain of the Dalmascan army.
The adventure spans Ivalice and traces the mysteries behind the Archadian Empire's invasion.
SPOILERS!!! Plot details follow. You have been warned!
Final Fantasy XII takes place mostly in the kingdom of Dalmasca, a small city-state in the world of Ivalice. A neutral party in the past wars between its neighboring kingdoms of Archadia and Rosaria, Dalmasca was ultimately conquered by Archadia and reduced to the status of an occupied state under Archadian rule. Vaan, a street urchin living in the Dalmascan capital of Rabanastre, is stealing some treasure from the Archadian Consul's residence in the old royal castle of Dalmasca. While looting the castle's safe Vaan meets Balthier, a sky pirate bent on stealing the Consul's treasures and his companion Fran, a Viera warrior. By coincidence the underground Dalmascan resistance movement assaults the royal castle on the same night, to depose the Archadian Consul. Vaan's looting gets noticed and he, Fran and Balthier are pursued by Archadian soldiers, along with the insurgents storming the castle, making them seem to be involved in the attack. This eventually brings the three face to face with Ashe, the deposed princess of Dalmasca and the leader of the resistance faction.
Balthier, Vaan and Fran are sent to a dungeon from where they escape bringing Basch, who had been on the dungeon since the war, with them. Headhunters looking for Balthier kidnap Vaan's best friend Penelo in the hopes that the always gallant Balthier will try to free the girl. Vaan, Fran, Basch and Balthier head to Bhujerba to free Penelo and meet Larsa in their adventures there. Larsa is revelaed to be a royal heir, the second in line for the throne of Archadia. He helps the party rescue Penelo and later keeps her and the party safe from the Archadian troops. At Bhujerba the party meets Ashe again and she requests Baltier's aid to retrieve a proof of her royal blood: The Dawn Shard.
The party heads to the Dynasty King's Tomb to retrieve the Dawn Shard and gets captured by Judge Ghis as soon as they do so. A large, mysterious explosion provides opportunity for the party to escape. During their escape they discover - to their horror - that Judge Ghis Ship and the Entire Archdian 8th fleet was destroyed by the power of the Dawn Shard, with is composed of a strange substance called Nethicite. Bent on wielding that power to free Dalmasca and avenge her fallen comrades Ashe heads to a place where she can learn more about the Stone. By chance they meet LArsa again, who persuades them to join him and another mysterious enemy / ally at Mt. Bur-Omisace to plan on how to stop the imminent war.
Disgraced by the 8th fleet's destruction, Vayne is called back to Archadia and starts suspecting that his father and the Archadian Senate will bypass him for King, giving the throne to his brother Larsa instead. Unwilling to risk being bypassed to the thrne Vayne murders his father and dissolves the Senate and immediately sends a ship to Mt. Bur-Omisace to capture the Dawn Shard from Ashe. His envoy, Judge Bergan, arrives too late: Ashe and Larsa heard of the events and Ashe has obtained the Dynasty Sword, while LArsa goes back to Archadia in haste. An enraged Bergan kills the holy man Gran Kiltias Anastasis and bombs Mt. Bur Omisace but is unable to get the shard or the sword.
Ashe and her party decide it is time to destroy all the Nethicite available in Ivalice and head to Draklor Labs at the heart of the Archadian Empire, where the last shard is, to destroy it and the lab where Dr. Cid is successfully using what he has learned from that nethicite shard to manufacture artificial nethicite.
They are unsuccessful in destroying the Nethicite in Draklor Labs, and are instead left with information pointing them to the ancient city of Giruvegan. Dr. Cid is supposedly going there to retrieve more Deifacted (god made) nethicite. The party enters the city and fights to the center of the Great Crystal, an incredibly large and powerful piece of Nethicite in which the Occurians live. There, the history of Raithwall and Nethicite is revealed. Ashe is given the Treaty blade so that she can carve out additional pieces of Deifacted nethicite in order to achieve greater power. She is told to destroy the Archadian Empire. Ashe is conflicted as to her course of action as she does not want to destroy Larsa and other innocent Archadians.
Ashe and the party leave Giruvegan with the knowledge that Dr. Cid has used them to retrieve the Treaty blade, and had no intention of traveling to Giruvegan. They return to Balfonheim and a pirate named Reddas joins the party to travel to Ridorana, where the Sun Cryst is housed in the lighthouse Pharos. In the lighthouse Ashe Realizes that all of the appearances of Lord Rassler are images constructed by the Occurians. Judge Gabranth arrives and fights the party. Upon his Defeat, Dr. Cid appears and banishes him back to the fleet. Cid wants to use the power of the Sun Cryst to make himself a God before Ashe destroys it. Upon defeating Dr. Cid, the Sun Cryst begins generating so much power that there is no way that the party could survive, until Reddas sacrifices himself to destroy the Sun Cryst with the Sword of Kings.
Vaan's party travel back to Balfonheim and learn that the discharge of power activated the largest airship ever built, Bahamut, and the resistance armies have staged a battle in the skies above Rabanastre. They travel to Bahamut to land and kill Vayne before he can destroy the country of Dalmasca, and all of the ships in the fleet. Before they can reach Vayne, Gabranth arrives to stop them. This time, Gabranth appears to have given up everything except his need to destroy his own brother. The party defeats Gabranth and leave him beaten in the elevator. Vayne attacks, and Larsa helps the party to fight him. As Vayne is beaten down, his Manufacted nethicite sucks power from Larsa, and the ship around him. Gabranth joins the attack against Vayne, but is struck down, just as Vayne loses his greater power. The rogue Occuria Venat joins with Vayne granting him more power, and the party once again attacks him, winning this time.